Howard Lederer Back Playing High-Stakes Poker
Logs Session Of $400-$800 At Aria In Las Vegas Tuesday Night
Former Full Tilt Poker owner Howard Lederer is back playing some of the highest stakes in the poker world. On Tuesday night, he was playing $400-$800 mixed games at Aria in Las Vegas.
The United States Department of Justice is looking to take more than $40 million from the 48-year-old in a pending civil complaint. Prosecutors allege that Lederer helped orchestrate a fraud worth hundreds of millions of dollars, leaving U.S. players empty handed.
American victims of Full Tilt are still waiting for the government to provide more information on how they can seek some compensation. Overseas players are to be bailed out by PokerStars, the company that acquired defunct Full Tilt as part of a settlement.
Three separate Aria employees said that death threats against Lederer had been received via phone since he returned to the felt at Bellagio Monday night and played again on Tuesday.
Like Bellagio, Aria had security personnel in front of the private high-stakes room where Lederer was playing. He sat with some familiar faces.
On Tuesday, Lederer played with Nick Schulman, David Oppenheim, Huck Seed and Chau Giang, all who represented Full Tilt at one point. Doyle Brunson rounded out the lineup. The atmosphere at the table looked friendly and was full of chatter.
Seed told Card Player during a bathroom break that Lederer was in “good spirits” and playing great poker. He said that Lederer “has played as good as anyone I’ve ever seen” while learning some of the new games in the rotation. Lederer had been away from the poker scene for more than a year. Seed added that he’s happy to see Lederer back at the tables.
At Bellagio, Lederer received a hug from a dealer who hadn’t seen him in awhile.
Some haven’t been pleased to see the man who, if what the DOJ alleges is accurate, would be one of the biggest crooks in poker’s long history.
“It makes you a little angry that he’s showing his face while knowing that people still haven’t been paid,” Siva Dhamotharan, a professional poker player living in Las Vegas, told Card Player while he was waiting for a cash game to start at Aria.
Dhamotharan, 26, added that Lederer was playing Tuesday with “wrongfully-earned money.”
The $5-$10 no-limit hold’em grinder said he has $50,000 still stuck on Full Tilt.
“It affects me a lot of the time,” Dhamotharan said. “That’s where I had most of my money.”
Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus
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